Hi, I'm Ryan, and I hope you enjoy my first food review for Student Speak. This one isn't just about one restaurant, but focuses on one of the finer dishes in life... and yes I am talking about poutine! While no two poutines are the same, I want to share with you the top five poutines in Oshawa, and all five are definitely worth trying. Can you handle the poutine?
Buster Rhino’s Southern BBQ
Entering Buster Rhino’s Southern BBQ is like taking a step into the southern US, as they have some of the greatest smoked meat you could ever hope to eat. The best part? They will put that smoked meat on poutine!
As a poutine connoisseur myself, this option is easily one of the best offerings on the menu. First, they take a mountain of fresh cut fries and then they add their Ontario locally sourced cheese curds on top. Next, their dark and flavourful gravy gets poured over the fries and cheese, and its warm deliciousness begins to melt the cheese curds. After that, it’s topped with pulled pork.
I want to note that their portion sizes are huge, and that the poutine by itself is easily a full meal. It is already delicious on its own, but you can opt to add mild, medium, hot, or Georgian hot mustard sauce on top. I always choose medium, as it adds a really good kick to the poutine.
Buster Rhino’s is located at 28 King St. East, right near the Regent Theatre (a 20 second walk!). They run lots of specials for students throughout the school year, and to get them all you need to do is show your student card.
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Smoke’s Poutinerie is located at 75 King St. East, right at the corner of Mary and King. Again, for all my downtown students this is right near the Regent Theatre. Smoke’s specializes in poutine, and when I say specializes, I mean it: they offer over twenty different possible poutine options, ranging from your traditional poutine with fries, gravy, and cheese curds to a fajita poutine, bacon cheeseburger poutine, or even a local special, the Shwasome, which comes topped with pulled pork, bacon, barbeque sauce and a chicken strip!
On my most recent visit I opted for the Nacho Grande poutine, which takes a traditional poutine and adds homemade chili, salsa, sour cream, jalapeno peppers, and guacamole to it. I also added bacon because… can you ever really have enough bacon?
My first impression was simply: this is amazing! The poutine is like eating delicious nachos except fries replace your nachos and Quebec cheese curds replace the nacho cheese. I got the meal size, which is most definitely enough for one person, but if you are feeling like the Hercules of eating, feel free to try and consume the WOW! size, which is a massive offering of any kind of poutine you would like. For those who do not want the famed poutine coma, you can also get a snack size.
Lakeview Burger is a new little spot on 1079 Cedar Street, which is in the south end of Oshawa, just off the 401 at Simcoe Street. They just celebrated their one-year anniversary recently, and with that they also came up with this heavenly idea: the deep-fried bacon-wrapped poutine. Yes, I am not kidding, deep-fried bacon wrapped poutine!
They use never-frozen Yukon-gold fries, and mix that together with their authentic cheese curds and gravy to form the initial poutine. At this stage you have the option of adding any toppings you might like (bacon, sausage, onions, etc.) and then the entire thing is wrapped up and deep fried. After that, they wrap (yes wrap) this beautiful creation in bacon strips! It’s almost too beautiful to eat, but once you bite into it you get delicious poutine stuffed inside. It’s like a panzerotti with a thinner crust, except significantly more delicious. Eating it is an experience. Yes, I used the word experience. This reminds me of food you would get at the CNE, except I can get it every day.
Lakeview is probably a bit out of the way for most students, especially if you are going to be using the bus, so they do have the option of delivery. I do believe that everyone should try the deep-fried poutine (with or without bacon wrap) at least once.
McCoy Burger is located very close to the North campus for all you North campus students, as it is right across the street in the plaza with Shoppers and Campus Corners. For those looking to GPS and head on over after reading, the address is 2069 Simcoe Street North. McCoy Burger prides itself on having no fillers or additives to any of their meat, and their fries are cooked in trans-fat free oil. See, poutine can be (kinda) healthy too!
I got their standard poutine with the key three ingredients: fries, gravy, and cheese curds. They use authentic poutine cheese curds, and there is most definitely a generous amount of it on this poutine (I was drowning in cheese curd heaven). While I did not opt for it, you can also customize the poutine with any extras you might like, such as bacon, veggies, or even eggs.
Riley’s is a pub located in downtown Oshawa, near the Charles Street building of Ontario Tech, at 104 King Street East. For a student taking public transit, if you walk east on King from the 401 stop it will be on your left.
Riley’s, like the other businesses on this list, offers a unique poutine. What makes Riley’s poutine special is that they offer lattice fries. They also load up the poutine and it’s definitely a meal, as it comes with a cheese curd blanket to ensure the lattice fries arrive safely to you. If lattice fries are not for you, you can get a poutine with regular fries, and their regular fries will still do the trick.
With that, the list is complete. Now you have the details on all five of these fine establishments, so I hope that you take the time to try them out! Each place has their own delicious take on poutine, so if you are a fan of the fries, cheese curd, and gravy trifecta your only problem should be deciding where to try first. Until next time, where I will be doing a spotlight on a local Oshawa restaurant.
(Lakeview Burger photo credit: Chantal James)